We are nearing the end of the month and end of the awesome Baking Mega Marathon in which we baked dishes for each alphabet from A to Z from various countries across the world. I was not fully prepared for this marathon and was very nervous of baking and clicking and posting on the same day and having so much bread to eat. But I have enjoyed each and every aspect of this month and had an absolute ball with all that baking. Even though my fellow blogging marathoners are spread across the world, with the regular commenting on each others’ blogs, I feel like we are so close and chatting across the hall as we each bake a delicacy in our respective kitchens.
This bread marks another ‘first’ for me. It is the first time that I baked in a oven that was not preheated. I have been so used to preheating the oven before baking anything that I was surprised to see a baked dish, that too bread, could be baked in a cold oven. If you have not tried it before you would be skeptic too but the results are awesome. So do not miss out.
I was not able to get too much information about the origin or history of this bread except for the fact that it is popular in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and named ‘Pan de Agua’ or ‘Water Bread’ because of the differing baking method. It is a regular bread in terms of ingredients and proofing but when it comes to baking it is completely different. This bread is first kept in a cold oven with a cup of hot water below it for ten minutes. Thereafter the oven is switched on and the bread is baked. This method allows the bread to rise and gives it a beautiful crunchy crust that is to die for. The bread can be eaten as is or with butter or even used to make sandwiches.
Country – Dominican Republic / Puerto Rico
Makes two 12″ loaves
Recipe adapted from here
WHAT WE WANT
All purpose flour 2 1/2 cups
Instant yeast 1 tsp heaped
Sugar 1 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 1/2 tsp
Lukewarm water 1 cup ( See Notes)
Boiling hot water 1 cup
Milk for glaze 2 tbsp
Cornmeal / flour to dust the baking tray
WHAT TO DO
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, Yeats, sugar, salt and lukewarm water
- Knead well for 8-10 minutes by hand to form a soft and elastic dough
- Cover and set it aside in a greased bowl till it doubles in volume, around 2 hours
- Take out the dough and divide into 2 equal parts
- Shape each part into a 12-14″ oblong loaf
- Transfer both to a baking tray dusted with cornmeal or flour
- Slash 3-4 times on the top with a serrated knife and brush the top with milk
- Pour the boiling water in a shallow baking dish and place it in the bottom rack of a cold oven
- Immediately put the baking tray on the middle rack and shut the oven door
- After 10 minutes, switch on the oven at 200C and bake for 30-35 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
- Slice it after it has completely cooled
- Enjoy with butter or as is!
- Since it is peak summer in Bangalore, where I live, I have been having issues with the dough taking too long to rise because of the heat. So in this recipe I used room temperature water to knead the dough instead of lukewarm water which helped in faster rising of the dough. If you are baking when the outside temperature is 35C or more, it would be better to use room temperature water to knead.
- In order to capture maximum steam within in the oven, it is necessary to shut th woven door as soon as both the loaves and boiling water have been placed inside. So, it is advisable to have the loaves ready, slashed, brushed with milk before pouring the boiling water in the baking dish
This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter ‘W’.